What was the most important invention in human history? The printing press? Antibiotics? Nope, says Alan Weisman in this talk from TEDxSitka. And he has a couple of simple ideas for how to undo its damage.

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The novelist Louise Erdrich has written a glowing review of Alan Weisman’s Countdown for her blog, Birchbark. She calls the book “urgent, eloquent, harrowing yet hopeful.”

Please read this book. Take your time. You will weep and yet be cheered.

The founder and owner of Birchbark Books in Minneapolis, Erdrich is a reader’s reader (she’s a writer’s reader, too!), and a passionate advocate for independent bookstores. Her latest novel, The Round House, won the 2012 National Book Award for fiction.